The drones’ taken off
Did you know that FAA forecasts a 200% increase growth in the use of drones (UAS) by 2020? Yes, you had that right!! Drones have taken off, literally, and you don’t have to look around much to know why: They are simply COOL! Drones not only serve as great toys to fuel a hobby or sport but have also revolutionized how we capture images and videos.
They are fun to fly. You can buy a drone to perform amazing rolls and flops to kill weekend boredom, record stunning videos, and even train it to follow you, taking amazing photos of you and your loved ones; drones come in handy, and we want to tell you all about them.
For drone enthusiasts and those curious about drones for consumer or business purposes, we have put together some all-round reviews of the best drones in the market for different players and included key pointers on what to look out for when in search of a drone to purchase.
Are you a beginner, pro, or an adrenaline junky? Here are the reviews on the seven best drones across the board.
The Syma X5C
The Best Beginners’ Drone
This is, without doubt, the best drone for beginners who want to learn the nitty-gritty on flying drones and hope to create a hobby out of it. The Syma X5C is relatively affordable, going for as little as $40.
For a beginner in flying drones, you will probably have crashed it numerous times before learning how to fly your toy correctly. But worry not. The durability for the Syma X5C is impeccable, and also comes with four extra guards and four spare propellers to repair any damage that you may cause. Spare parts and batteries for the drone are also readily available and affordable in the market. It’s inexpensive nature, from purchase to maintenance, presents the perfect starting point for a drone beginner to learn and experiment.
The drone is light weighing averaging 2.1 pounds and can fly up to 7 minutes. It has a wind-resistant build that enables it to fly outdoors as well as indoors unlike most of the drones in its price-range that can only fly indoors. The Syma X5C, though very small, has a six-axis-gyro-stabilization to ensure its maximum stability while in flight.
This drone comes with a two Megapixels (2mp) camera, a 2GB memory card, and a tutorial pack to teach you on how to record videos and takes images. Though the quality of the pictures and videos taken is average, the opportunity to learn how to take shots comfortably while in flight and practice to perfection comes to an affordable cost.
To aid you in learning, the Syma X5C comes with an LED enabled, 2.4 GHz remote control that works with two batteries. The drone has green and red LEDs. The LEDs let you know the direction the drone is facing. The red LEDs are in the front while the green in the back. The LEDs also serve to indicate low battery by blinking when the drone is in-flight.
The DJI Mavic Pro 4k
The Best Camera Drone
The DJI Mavic Pro 4k model is a portable and powerful quadcopter and among the best rated. The model comes with a compact folding design that enables you to fold it down to the size of a water bottle. This compact nature makes it possible to quickly pack the drone and have it with you everywhere you go.
The drone’s camera enables you to take high-quality pictures of up to 12 megapixels, videos of 1080p at 96 frames per second (fps) and 4k videos at 30fps. Images of 1080p can be transmitted to your smartphone in real time. To ensure stability, the DJI Mavic Pro 4K has a three-axis mechanical supporting gimbal that ensures the camera remains still as the drone flies. The gimbal can move the camera both horizontally and vertically from 0 to 90 degrees as well as make a pitch of -90 to +30 degrees.
The DJI Mavic Pro 4K can achieve a flight time of 27 minutes powered by its 3830mAh battery can fly fast up to the speed of 40mph. For those in possession of CAA/IAA permit, they can enjoy flying the drone up to 4.3 miles.
The control and performance of the drone are superior to other drones as it has 24 high-performance computing cores for the best experience. The drone comes with five vision sensors that can sense objects within 15m enabling it to slow down and hover away from them to avoid causing an accident.
The DJI Mavic Pro 4K has simplified the flying mode of the drone through the Tap-Fly and Active-Track features. The active track feature allows you to choose an object that the drone will aim its focus on while you fly. Tap fly works by letting you choose an area in the DJI GO 4 app from your connected smart phone’s screen, and the drone will fly to the destination on its own.
The Hubsan H107C+ HD
The Best Toy Drone
This drone serves the function of just being a toy. It is suitable for the people who just want to enjoy flying a drone and have fun while at it at a pocket-friendly price.
The Hubsan H107C+ HD drone comes in a unique, stylish design that can perform 360-degree rolls and flips. The drone comes with a button to press to achieve a 360-degree flip. This ability makes it possible for you to experiment and challenge your flying skills potential to the utmost. It also has LEDs that allow you to fly even in the dark.
This toy drone is built for use in any condition. It has an altitude hold capability that makes it possible for it to fly smoothly and be stable without any additional operator movement. It also comes with an adjustable six-axis gyro to increase its stability.
The drone’s battery offers a flight time of up to 7 minutes and can float up to 150 feet. Its battery can be recharges in just forty minutes using the USB charging cable that comes with the drone.
The Hubsan H107C+ HD comes packed with four spare propellers, four extra propeller guards and a u-wrench to replace the damaged parts as soon as they occur. The Hubsan H107C+ HD is controlled by a 2.4 GHz remote that is user-friendly. It has a comfortable hold to help you perfect skills on tricks that the drone can perform while flying it.
Though it is majorly a toy, the drone also comes with a 720p HD-camera that captures both videos and still images of 2 Mega Pixels. It makes it possible to capture footage from daring angles and create epic shots.
The Hubsan H107C+ HD drone is approximately 4 by 4 by 1 inches in size. Its small size as a drone makes it suitable to fly both indoors as well as outdoors making it the perfect toy drone to have.
The Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon
The Best Intermediate Drone
The Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon drone comes as a ready-to-fly drone right from the package and is suitable for intermediate drone enthusiasts.
The drone comes with a CGO3 camera with a 130 degrees rotation view. This integrated anti-vibration three-axis gimbal that has a 90 degrees adjustable angle view enables you to capture smooth videos in 4K, photos in 12 Mega Pixels as well as 1080p-120 fps slow motion videos. The camera also has a digital video downlink that lets your smartphone act as an image viewfinder. This, in essence, means that through the 5.8GHz downlink, you can view live images from the drone’s camera on your smartphone by using the free CGO app.
The Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon has a sleek design that makes it easily portable, as its legs and camera are easy to dismantle and re-assemble. It also comes packaged in a rugged transport case that accommodates the entire drone, the ST10+ controller, two sets of props, two batteries, the Steady Grip and all accessories.
The drone’s remote control, the 2.4 Ghz ST10+ ground station, has a unique design with impressive qualities. It has an Android=powered 5.5-inch display touch screen on one-half, and a joystick on the other half. The touchscreen lets you monitor live images from the camera connected on the drone and adjust the camera settings. The remote control also has shutter buttons to enable a quick capture of photos and videos.
The Steady-Grip device that comes with the drone is a hand-held device that ensures that the process of taking images on the ground is as smooth as taking pictures while in the air. Through the CGO3 app, you will be able to control the SteadyGrip to capture images, record videos and control the camera.
The drone is powered by a 5400mAh- LiPo battery. This unique battery is extremely light and gives the drone a flight time of up to an incredible 20-25 minutes.
The TBS Vendetta
The Best FPV Racing Drone
TBS Vendetta is the best drone for FPV racing enthusiasts. It comes packaged while already pre-tuned and the R/C Calibration Wizard illustrates the setup steps to bring the drone to life.
This small racing drone is ready to fly 240-sized FPV racer that operates with the addition of R/C receiver, FPV video receiver, and goggles to complete the racing setup. The drone comes with 3.5mm quick replace carbon fiber arms and MT30 connectors. To get the drone in the air, all you have to do is install the receiver and attach the 4S battery to power the drone.
The entire body of the TBS Vendetta is made of carbon fiber making it very light, weighing 380 grams when the camera and battery are not mounted. The carbon fiber body build also ensures that the drone is crash resistant and sturdy to enhance its durability.
When repairing or making replacements on this drone, no soldering iron is required. The drone has been structured with a modular design of a slide-able tray that houses electronics of the drone (TBS ZeroZero FPV camera, the TBS POWERCUBE and TBS FPV OSD). This feature in combination with its swappable arms and motors make the process of repairing crashed parts very easy as well as upgrading parts without the fear of interfering with the vital electronic configurations of the drone.
When in the air the drone can fly up to speeds of 70mph, reaching a high altitude of 1300 meters and can attain a flight time of 3 to 5 minutes averagely when in normal mode and averagely 6 minutes when in hover mode. The TBS Vendetta can also break the 100mph barrier when diving down from high above.
The TBS Vendetta is fully configurable via the built-in OSD and does not require a PC. It is easily compatible with systems such as PPM, SBUS, XBUS and Spektrum R/C systems.
The DJI Inspire 2.0
If you are a professional, you could consider the DJI Inspire 2.0. The DJI Inspire 2.0 is fit for professional use whether by filmmakers or aerial videographers.
The DJI Inspire 2.0 quadcopter comes with a rotor span of averagely 1.2 feet between each motor and weighs close to 7.2 pounds. Each motor has a magnesium aluminum composite shell and carbon fiber arms that enable the drone to function under any weather conditions as well as enhanced durability.
The drone runs on a dual battery set-up that provides the drone with the flight time of up to 27 minutes while powering the cameras, sensors, and stabilizers. The DJI Inspire 2.0 can achieve an average speed of 45mph while on air and can fly to a height of 16,400 feet.
The DJI Inspire 2.0 does not come with a high-definition camera hence will require you to purchase camera lenses. However, the quadcopter comes with a Zenmuse X5S onboard camera model that supports different lens changes up to 5.2K quality motion pictures in Cinema DNG format. The drone also comes packed with a 16 GB Micro SD card for storage.
The remote control of the DJI Inspire drone can control the drone within the range of 7KM. It can switch signal frequency between 2.4 GHz and 5.8 Ghz using the light bridge technology.
For better filming, the DJI Inspire can fly in ActiveTrack mode. This mode enables the drone to sense and identify objects quickly from people to bikes to locomotives. The drone can also detect obstacles averagely 30 meters ahead allowing it to create a different route to take to avoid causing accidents and collisions.
The DJI Inspire 2.0 has a unique feature enabled known as the smart-return-to-home feature. This feature is to be used if the drone loses the video transmission signal. When enabled, this feature will allow your drone to return home following its original path. The original path is created by the drone using its advanced technology to creating a real-time map of its route as it flies.
The Hover Camera Passport
The Best Selfie Drone
Are you a selfie lover? Them the Hover camera passport is the drone fit for you. This drone is designed to act as your personal photographer.
The drone is equipped with a small hi-tech camera that can take photos at 13 Mp and record videos in 4K quality and has a built-in flashlight for lighting purposes. However, what makes this drone perfect for selfies is not its camera but rather the image recognition software that comes with the device. The software working along the quad-core Snapdragon processor of the drone allows the drone to sense bodies and more specifically aces while flying in the air without the need of a GPS.
The ability for the drone to fly on its own without a GPS or being controlled makes taking selfies with the drone much simpler. The drone is designed to follow you wherever you go. It has a maximum range of 65 feet and an average flight time of 8 minutes. The autonomous nature of the drone is geared to making the process of taking selfies with the drone as comfortable as possible.
The Hover camera passport drone can perform both an autonomous orbit mode and 360-degree panorama mode. In the orbit mode, the drone flies in a circle around you, following you everywhere as you move. When in the 360-degree panorama mode, the drone will do a 360-degree spin at once then co me up with a single panoramic picture.
The Hover camera passport has a unique design to enhance its portability. When not in use the drone can be folded up into a compact book-like shape. When closed up, the drone is 1.3 inches long and weighs close to 242 grams only.
The drone also has some extra added safety features. It has carbon fiber prop cages that work to protect the propellers from running into and being damaged by obstacles. The fiber prop cages also protect you from the spinning blades making it safe to handle your drone with your hands when launching it for flight or plucking it from the air once you are done using it.
How to Choose the Best Drone?
What should you be on the lookout for when you decide to purchase a drone?
Here are a few considerations that you should make
Purpose of the Drone
What exactly do you want to do with the drone you want to purchase? The type of drone to buy should be able to achieve the purposes you intend for it.
There are four major types of drones based on functionality in the market:
- Beginner drones,
- Photo/Video drones,
- Toy drones and
- FPV racing drones.
Once you decide on the major function you want the drone to perform; you are ready to look at the drones available for that purpose.
Mode of Assembling the Drone
There are three broad categories of drones when it comes to how they are assembled.
These categories are:
- RTF- Ready To Fly. These drones come fully assembled and only require the charging of the batteries to get your drone up in the air.
- ARF- Almost Ready to Fly. These drones come in parts and require the owner to assemble the parts for the drone to be able to fly. Such drones appeal more to Do-It Yourself lovers and hobbyists of drones.
- BNF, the Bind-N-Fly. The drones come packaged with everything except for a transmitter. To enable the owner to use the transmitter of their choice then bind it to the receiver that comes with the drone model.
Availability of Drone Accessories and Spare Parts
The spending on a drone does not end with the purchase of it; this is merely the beginning.
After you buy a drone, there will be the need to add some accessories and spare parts. It is important to know the cost and availability of spare parts of the model purchased. Ideally, you will require some extra batteries, extra propellers, and a quick charger. In the event of crashing your drone, which is more likely to occur often, there will be costs to be incurred in replacing damaged parts or getting the drone back to the manufacturer for repair.
Look out for drone models that come with a crash insurance policy. It’s an added advantage
What Drone is the Perfect Pick for You?
Even when you have no good reason for buying one, you have to admit that drones are indeed cool. Most of the models we have highlighted here are suitable for use in hobbyist and commercial cinematic and imaging applications, whether small or large.
You now know all that there is to know about the best-rated drones. So, what’s stopping you from getting the done you want? Go out there and get yourself the best drone but if you would love a pointer; how about you give the DJI Mavic Pro a try.